Over the years I have highlighted some of our antique finds used in ways not intended by the original manufacturer. While every room in the house has antiques or vintage pieces, it’s often the repurposed rather than the reused antique that draws the most attention from friends and guests.
When selling at flea markets and antique shows, one gets to watch the customer’s reactions to the array of oddities we always seem to find. By now we do have “regular” customers that have commented on seeking us out for the weird stuff we sell. But that still leaves plenty of folks walking into our booth, looking and inspecting pieces with no idea what the item is, was or could be. While most of this weird stuff once had a useful purpose, sometimes one can only suggest its current use would be man- (or woman-) cave wall art or garden art.
But Wifey has helped our potential customers see the usefulness or decorative purpose by adding to or combining pieces to show buyers visual suggestions to help them look beyond the barren pot and see the plant in bloom. Take this repurposed porcelain enamel metal shelf. It started life as a drop leaf on a kitchen table. Add a few pieces of wood and it becomes a shelf that is decorative and functional.
The ice cream parlor chair from a drugstore soda fountain that closed over forty years ago had a twin until Wifey suggested the seat could be removed and a round dish pan would fit in to form a decorative garden planter.
The three-legged stand, fitted with a white enamel cooking pot becomes a planter, and rust on the bottom of the pot has already created drainage for the user’s convenience.
More often than I can remember we have found and sold wall paper printing rollers. These large rollers are made to print one of many colors needed to complete the papers design. The one I’m showing is our own and sits on our hearth. The flowers or decoration it holds change to match the season, with holly for winter and yellow and red leaves in fall. The one I had planned to show you sold this last weekend and we included a spring bouquet of flowers with the roller.
Just a little imagination is all that’s needed to add wiring and the workings to convert this roller into a lamp. It already has a hole down the center, is stable standing upright and will intrigue visitors with its uniqueness.
If the theme in your cave or cottage is outdoor sports related, an old fishing minnow bucket weighted with sand would make a great lamp base. And I have seen many other examples of repurposed items made into decorative lamps, from fire extinguishers and parking meters to electric meters, and even a champagne bottle, but drilling glass for the cord takes skill.
With the man-cave replacing the entertainment room (which replaced the rec-room), signage remains a hot item. Our specialty is that unusual piece that is not a beer sign. Made of cast iron, these were parts of some product that would have identified the maker in a decorative manner, sometimes without any other function. What great conversation pieces they become just hanging on a wall.